Monday, November 30, 2009

"only in America does that happen, " Martin Smith told us


Keltic Ken
(hey, why is Ken not signed up as a contributor to this blog yet?!) and I were able to interview Martin Smith of Delirious..

Click the word "posts" on the podcast box below, then click "Dave/Delirious"..

Several relevant issues to this blog, in order of appearance in the interview:

-Car crashes and discernment
-becoming missional
-the natural end of the band
-Compassion Art
-"You don't have to believe to belong"
-"Where do the record stores file you guys?"
-Getting cult-followers into Christian bookstores

Killer quote:
"That seems to be only in America that they want to do that."

My only argument with Martin is when he
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says, "I'm a poet, not a church leader."

Poets ARE church leaders.
In fact, see this.

More on Delirious:

"What I learned about God/church through Delirious lyrics"

Car Crashes make the Church Delirious

"Is there such a thing as Christian music?"


"Our song 'It's OK' caused controversy because of the word 'hell' in the lyric, and has been pulled from several Christian stores in the U.S., despite the fact it has touched many people profoundly. For us boys, this is a case of 'let's keep anything impure away from the church' when, in my opinion, purity is all about bringing justice to a God-less society.."
-Martin Smith of Delirious
context: an article on Delirious lyrics that God has used













interview with Beth Maynard of U2 Sermons

KKeltic Ken and I interviewed
Beth Maynard
for KRDU about the U2 faith connection.
Full of good stuff, of course.. like the quote "a recipe for distance."


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And what does all this say about God?

So, I'm joined to Fresno in Spirit. If there were ever a group of people in which I felt understood, though miles away, it's gotta be Fresno.

A strange thing this is (I know, I sound like Yoda). But in all seriousness, it is strange. That people so far away would feel like home.

Yet, God seems to operate through oddities (at least in my life).

***************************

I believe that God's calling is inherent to every individual and as the "individuals" that we are, some of us are conventional, Sunday church-goers in suits who'd rather not partake of a cup of wine or a cold beer. And it's ok. God sees the heart. Perhaps I may not be able to relate to my suited, non-wine/beer drinking brother in Christ on many levels, maybe I'll feel judged by him or awkward in his presence, but, on a core level, we are part of the same family. We share the same spiritual DNA.

Others (like me and like many of the folk in Fresno) are odd (yes you know you are... and that's why I love you guys), we lead unconventional lives... or not... but the way we view our relationship with God differs from mainstream Christianity.

And that's the beauty of it, that no matter how many times I've walked the streets of my very southern city, thinking that I really don't fit into mainstream Christianity and/or mainstream society and/or life in general... or that the four churches over here really aren't my cup of tea... which sometimes saddens me (couldn't I have been more normal and have felt content in a "normal" church, for Pete's sake?), the truth is that God DOES NOT make mistakes.

Jeremiah 1:5
New International Version (©1984)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


I'm not a mistake. The way I view life, the nuances that make me, "me"... My hurts, my hopes and dreams, my fears, my questions, my love, my smiles, my songs... these are not mistakes.

Some of us are anti-system, some have a deep questioning of institutions, some of us may feel a bit rebellious, a bit of an outsider (I know I do) some of us walk around a bit blindly, knowing that we love God and Jesus, but hey, that's about all we know.

And it's ok.

Not all of us are called to be spiritual giants or mountains of wisdom. Through our small efforts, through the muck we think we are spiritually, God is operating. Little by little. But rest assured that life and a path given to him (even if we take it back every week or so) will be guided by... him.

Psalm 37:5

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.


****************************

In God's kingdom, there is something for everyone.

My two years in this city have been marked by periods of extreme loneliness, a mistake or two (which God kindly saved me from, it could have been a lot worse) and a bunch of surprises.

For instance, many of God's blessings came from unexpected people. Mostly gay. I really don't have Christian friends in this city. I tried. I really did. But the only friends that came my way were gay. One was my roommate, whom I met the first day I came here. A lovely man who (though not prone to physical demonstrations of kindness, he says so himself) hugs me, kisses my cheek and just plain shares the love. The other was a colleague who just waltzed into my life and decided I was worth loving with all his heart. These gay friends dote on me, accept me, help me out financially (they furnished my apartment when I had no money to do so). And Christmases and all major holidays are spent with them. They have become family. Did I look for them? No... Was I a horrible sinner that went astray and thus met them... Ummm... nope. Quite the opposite, I was looking for God's deliverance with all my heart back then.

And the support I looked for at church, but did not find, I found in them.

Isn't God odd like that? Or is he "normal" like that?

And how about my "church", the ones I consider MY church? You guys are all in Fresno.

And what does all this say about God?

That God works in mysterious ways? The cliche is true. We may really never know what he's up to in our lives. We may not understand his times, we may be surprised at those he chooses to bless us. All we can really do is keep living, keep praying, commit our path to God, hold on to the faith, not lose hope, help someone out there with time, money, prayers (so much of it is about others, isn't it?) and enjoy and give thanks for the wine (or beer) we have every once in a while with the neighbors.

Love you Guys. Don't forget to drop a prayer or two my way. ;)

******************

Romans.

8:26 - [In Context]
Also, the Spirit F68 helps us. We are very weak, but the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We don't know how to pray like we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us. The Spirit begs God for us. The Spirit speaks to God with deep feelings that words cannot explain.
8:27 - [In Context]
God can see what is in people's hearts. And God knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants.
8:28 - [In Context]
We know that in everything God works for the good of those people that love him. These are the people God called (chose), because that was his plan.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"most guys do" : pregnant dancing with the Trinity


We had a great time today, this first Sunday in Advent...I spoke on, as I do every year, what Jack Hayford calls "The Mary Miracle." It's always a
highlight of the year for me.

We
  • bounced on Rob Bell's trampoline,
  • kicked off the Advent Conspiracy,
  • prayed to U2's "Yahweh,"
  • partook of some deep sharing,
  • read from St Henri's journal,
  • did some Trinitarian dancing..
..and all became pregnant.

.......well you had to be there.
(if you were, post thoughts in the comments section below).
Or see this post from a couple years ago:

Mary Rocks!





Every year, about this time, I love preaching on Mary...(and I am a Protestant!..(:

...or am I? Maybe I used to be!..I'm not Roman Catholic, but how important are categories like Protest-ant any more? And what am I/are we now, anyway: emerging, misisonal, ?? Post-Protestant...pre-Christian...whatever!) It began years ago with Jack Hayford's little book "The Mary Miracle" (reisssued as The Christmas Miracle, no doubt because someone feared the title sounded too 'Catholic'!!)).

In Paraguay in 1998, I risked preaching a sermon (and I did..photo evidence right here) in Spanish about how we are all to become spiritually "pregnant" like Mary... (Just imagine how that might have come across..."Come to the altar and get pregnant"..!)

Can't wait to hear how
I preach it this year(: ...

especially in light of the Nativity movie, and the Scot McKnight book..)

It is tempting to preach something like this..

The point?

"Mary is, to that extent, the supreme example of what always happens when God is at work by grace through human beings. God's power from outside, and the indwelling Spirit within, together result in things being done which would have been unthinkable any other way."

-NT Wright, Luke for Everyone , p. 11.

Come to the altar and get pregnant.





This year, several wanted to follow up with the resources on the Trinity, as we noted how Mary got caught up in the perichoresis: the dance of the Trinity (see this) when Gabe announced her pregnancy in Luke .




So here you go..

Here is the Rob Bell clip:

Here are the books referenced, in order from most scholarly to down-home:

You might start with the third volume, I know no theologian more practical and pastoral..one dedicated to living out theology in praxis in community, family and world... than Steve Seamands. The book is hugely helpful in applying the most "theological" and apparently "unpractical" doctrines of all to life and ministry.

How does the doctrine and reality of the Trinity impact everything we say/do/pray/decide?

"The Trinity is the language in which Christian truth is spoken. It gives shape to the truth. The Trinity is not peripheral, let alone optional. It is the marvelous, wonderful heart of our faith." [Chester, p. 17]

Here are several posts from my blog on the topic of Trinity, including

"Trinity as model for church...and computers"

and

"The Trinitarian Nature of Leadership," by Len Hjalmarson


-------------



Trinity: My name's Trinity.
Neo: *The* Trinity? Who cracked the IRS d-base?
Trinity: That was a long time ago.
Neo: Jesus...
Trinity: What?
Neo: I just thought... you were a guy.
Trinity: Most guys do.


"Organic church life is not native to this planet.
It began before time in the Godhead."
-Frank Viola 2/4/09

Thursday, November 05, 2009

News from Peru


Here below are the latest newsletter and plans from Ken and Cathie Metz in Peru.
Just click (or right click) on each page to enlarge, read and rejoice.

(If you have not seen the movies of our previous trips down there, click
this for 2004, and this for 2005.. But a warning, you are basically signing up to go with us next time if you do.)

Note: a helpful summary, with new pics, is here in the Grace Covenant newsletter..
--

Below: Sept 2009 newsletter
Below that: 2008-2009 report, and plans for the future
CLICK ANY PAGE TO ENLARGE AND READ:











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